Budapest is a dirty, sad city, especially in the winter rain. The atmosphere is more appropriate to a Russian novel. You can check on the Internet or at a few independent journalists if I am telling the truth because the Public Service Media from Hungary will say to you what the Fidesz government ordered for that day. You can do this if you are not captive of their trust media. Still, if you live in rural Hungary or small cities, you do not even find my considerations.
I can’t rich you with my opinions (which by the way are not reflecting or representing the opinions of organizers or institutions who financial helpt them). There is exclusively the government area. Still, I will like to share with you what happened in Budapest on 12 December 2019.
First, a series of media institutions made this reporting mission, about press freedom in Hungary (“the Hungarian system of media control was deliberately designed to deter scrutiny and provide its rulers with superficial deniability, the governments’ international spokesperson described independent journalists as political activists, 80% of the market for political and public affairs news is financed by sources decided by the ruling party”)
To conclude the situation the European Center for Press&Media Freedom (ECPMF), in collaboration with the Budapest Center for Independent Journalism (CIJ) and supported by the European Commission, the Free State of Saxony, the City of Leipzig and the Goethe Institute Budapest, organized the Conference: Newsocracy – Protect Public Service Media against Political Interference. I enjoyed the moment under the ECPMF generosity of financial sustaining.
During the event, I found these considerations:
- “Public media entertain, inform, and educate. For that should be owned by the public.” I agree with this in the limitation of a valuable educated public. Otherwise, we will have just a losing time instrument and cheap entertainment like a solution for expensive cultural consumption. Also, in many countries, Public Service Media is just a rewarding instrument with positions for ruling party members.
- “A national bubble can be created through the marginalization of the truth and polarizing the information.” The Conference focused on the Hungarian case. I like to mention for example Poland where people are ready to fight against Muslims even if they have the smallest community of them, Romania where frequent belief is that others intend to obtain from them the intelligence and beauty of the land, also Grece with byzantine habits, Alexander the Great mythology and the cradle of civilizations. All these subjects exploited equally by Public Service Media and private interests. Bubbles are living in the past because the future is too challenging.
- “Independent Media can not change the population decision because the Government is controlling enough of the media market to influence people.” Through this light, communism must live forever, but people defeated with all their control and media capture. The public likes to be used, or the press is not finding the proper language to rich the minds. Media is crossing the same perception similar in politics: all are the same, following a personal agenda.
- “Populist Autocracy in Serbia – no critics but large ignoring the opposition.” More challenging for the opposition made them much prepared for future governance. Again Romania, with an example of struggling and exclusions in the new party (USR) who sustains that is bringing the democracy, but they sanction member’s opinions.
- “Expectations from the European Commission to have a strong intervention.” When you have 27 different systems of Public Service Media, any solutions are partial or subjective. Maybe it is time to allow the competition and settle the federal legislation. On the free market, you do not tell the customers from where to buy products or services, even if some providers are claiming fair trade origins. The institutions assure that consumer’s rights are respected. If the public wants to keep the Media, solutions will appear. Some publications or TV channels claim to have millions of unique visitors every day. One euro per month from them will finance any needs.
- “Public Service versus Public Interest.” Unfortunately, people lost their confidence in values like honest arguments. But this is the consequence of what liberal media did. Consumers use to have faith in precisely the same institutions, which now are claiming that the equilibrium is not kept. Before being captured by the Government, the same Public Service Media made money on click-bite news, low-quality productions, toxic debating, and false problems, which made the audience and sells advertising.
Now consumers understand better and are requesting a transformation. In my utopian world, two professional categories are voluntary: journalists and politicians.
On the end, I am quoting the representative of the Russian Federation Embassy: “In front of you is a rock. If you go left, you lose your head, and if you go right, you lose your horse. What you’ll do?” and “Give the power to the opposition to see the volume of pluralism.”
For interested public the registrations from the “Newsocracy” Conference can be accessed here:
The generosity of ECPMF offers me a few hours to explore the cultural beauty of Budapest. I succeeded in finding two photographic artists: Krasznai Korcz Janos and Zsigmond Gabor with their “Magyarok” albums. I received the collections from their hands with immense happiness. I intended to donate it to FOAM Amsterdam, but they did not show interest. Then I realized that also cultural education should be released to the broad public. And I donated the book to a street library where anyone can come and take books for free. Thank you, gentlemen, for your work.